Monochrome Watches
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The 2021 Editions of the MB&F LM101, Including a Steel Model (Live Pics & Price)

The LM101 returns in 2021 with new dial colours, a couple of design tweaks, a model in stainless steel and a double hairspring on the spectacular flying balance wheel.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 5 min read |

MB&F’s LM101 returns in 2021 with new colourful dial plates, a couple of design upgrades and – wait for it – a model in stainless steel! The concept behind the 2021 versions is to accentuate the balance wheel, now fitted with a double hairspring from H. Moser & Cie. Another mandate for the 2021 editions was to emphasize the time and power reserve sub-dials by enlarging them, removing some of the engravings on the dial and reducing the width of the bezel. Available in 18k white gold with a purple dial plate, in red gold with a royal blue dial plate and a stainless steel model with a light blue dial, the more restrained dimensions of the LM101 make it the most compact machine at MB&F and one of the least expensive in the Legacy Machine line-up.

Background of LM101

Instead of following the Legacy Machine 1 (2011) and Legacy Machine 2 (2013) with a more complicated Legacy Machine 3 watch in 2014, MB&F decided to introduce the LM101. The Legacy Machine 101 debuted in 2014, and its “101” appellation accentuated the essence of this “quintessential mechanical watch”: the balance wheel. Simpler and smaller than its predecessors, the LM101 underscored the beating heart of a watch by placing the escapement and balance wheel on the dial.

The LM101 in Platinum with Blue dial

Although it was less complex than its predecessors, the LM101 ascribed to the concept behind the Legacy Machine as a family of watches that Büsser might have conceived if he “had been born in 1867” instead of 1967. Unlike the galactic space vessels that had marked the trajectory of MB&F, the launch of the Legacy Machine collection shocked many fans with its classic, round case, lacquered registers and inspiration taken from 19th-century pocket watches. You can read all about the development of the Legacy Machine collection from 2011-2021 in our retrospective article.

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Like the first two Legacy Machines, the LM101 flaunted the large floating balance wheel on the dial, the twin arched bridge, the classic lacquered sub-dials and the domed sapphire crystal. In 2014, the LM101 was also the proud bearer of the first movement entirely developed and conceived in-house with a little help from MB&F’s friend Kari Voutilainen for the design and finishings. However, unlike the 44mm Legacy Machines, the LM101 had a smaller and more wearable 40mm case size and was the least expensive model in the Legacy Machine collection. Since its debut, the LM101 has appeared in 18k red and white gold, in two limited ‘Frost’ editions, limited editions in platinum and palladium and even a collaborative model with an H. Moser & Cie. green fumé dial stripped of sub-dials in classic minimalist Moser style.

The new MB&F LM101 in steel with a bright blue dial.

new colours & design updates

All three 2021 versions of the LM101 – white gold, red gold and stainless steel – share a diameter of 40mm and a height of 16mm. The bezel and top side of the lugs are polished, while the caseband and sides of the lugs are brushed. In pride of place, the monumental 14mm suspended balance wheel dominates the scenery as it performs its slow oscillations (2.5Hz), similar to the speed of balance wheels on antique pocket watches. The white dials are gently domed and treated with a translucent high-gloss lustre applied using a laque tendue process. Like the balance wheel, the dials also appear to float in space suspended above the sunray-engraved movement top plate (in royal blue, purple and light blue).

The hours and minutes are displayed in the top right corner with bright blued-gold hands for additional contrast, and the 45-hour power reserve is displayed in a smaller sub-dial at 6 o’clock. Both sub-dials feature a golden perimeter, and there are no visually obtrusive attachment screws because the dials are attached to the top plate from below. Unlike former editions of the power reserve indicator on the LM101 with Arabic numerals (40, 32, 24, 16 and 8), the 2021 LM101 reduces the information to just three numerals (45, 30 and 15). Another difference is the elimination of the Legacy Machine engraving on former models.

The twin arches securing the large balance wheel are milled from a single block of metal and are mirror-polished by hand. Another novelty for the 2021 editions of the LM101 is the incorporation of a Straumann double hairspring. The double hairspring was first seen in the LM101 Performance Art editions involving an MB&F and H.Moser & Cie. collaboration in 2020.

In-house movement

As mentioned, the movement of the LM101 was specifically conceived and developed in-house by MB&F to fit inside the 40mm case. Master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen oversaw the historical accuracy of the bridge design and the exceptional Haute Horlogerie finishings. The box sapphire crystal on the caseback reveals the beautifully decorated manual-winding movement with superlative 19th-century handmade finishings throughout. Along with the large ruby jewels set in highly-polished countersunk gold chatons – a nod to antique pocket watch movements – the bridges on the 2021 LM101 editions have been modified with a contrasting NAC-coated black treatment. Fitted with a single mainspring barrel, the watch has a power reserve of 45 hours and is fitted with a Straumann®double hairspring and beats at a frequency of 18,000vph/2.5Hz.

Availability & price

The three new LM101 models come with a hand-stitched alligator or calfskin leather strap with a white gold, red gold or stainless steel buckle to match the case. The LM101 stainless steel model with a light blue dial retails for CHF 49,000 (excl. tax); the LM101 red gold (royal blue dial) and white gold (purple dial) models retail for CHF 59,000 (excl. tax).

For more information, please visit MB&F’s website.

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